Coming April 14-16
"Orchestra of Exiles" (unrated, 85 minutes, First Run Features): Josh Aronson's film shows how the great violinist Bronislaw Huberman saved as many as a thousand lives from Hitler by creating the Palestine, now Israel, Philharmonic. Aronson's film takes dutiful note of Huberman's life as prodigy and virtuoso. But only on reaching Palestine does it become genuinely interesting. Still, reenactment scenes are not the film's strength. Cameos by Ivry Gitlis, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Leon Botstein, reminiscences of second- and third-generation orchestra players, and interviews with surviving contemporaries cover a multitude of soft spots. Archival stills recall a place where the Promised Land showed unimagined promise, and the best of times met the worst of times in a minimally watered landscape of cars, camels, Bauhaus apartment buildings and unpaved streets. Extras: filmmaker interview, featurettes "The Power of Music," "Music Education: The Legacy of the IPO," "Huberman's Dream" and "Why Jews Stayed in Europe."
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"Django Unchained" (R, 165 minutes, The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay): Even as Quentin Tarantino liberally peppers the dialogue in his film with racial epithets, the director doesn't shrink from the inhumane realities of life for enslaved people in 19th century America: One of the film's first shots captures the horrifically scarred backs of several men as they're force-marched through the Texas countryside in chains. That's where the title character (Jamie Foxx) meets an itinerant dentist named Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who turns out to be a bounty hunter on a job. Django assures Schultz that he can identify the three men Schultz is looking for and agrees to help him if Schultz will in turn help him find his wife, Broomhilda. Fully kitted out in low-crowned hat, holster and menacing slouch, Django comes to resemble Nat Turner by way of Clint Eastwood, an archetypal vigilante radically redefined across the ages. For viewers who already share Tarantino's love of genre, "Django Unchained" is enormously satisfying. But colorful characters and performances can mask thinly schematic underpinnings for only so long. Eventually Tarantino resorts to his usual fall-back position, which is to bathe everything and everyone in sight in gunfire, gore and geysers of blood. Contains strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, profanity and some nudity. Extras: featurette "Remembering J. Michael Riva" on the film's production design, making-of short, soundtrack spot. Also, on Blu-ray: featurettes "Reimagining the Spaghetti Western: The Horses and Stunts of 'Django Unchained' " and " The Costume Designs of Sharen Davis."
"One Day on Earth" (unrated, 104 minutes, New Video/Cinedigm): On 10/10/10 across the planet, documentary filmmakers, students and other people recorded the human experience over a 24-hour period and contributed their voices to a global day of media creation called "One Day on Earth." The first simultaneous filming event occurring in every country in the world, it became a showcase of the amazing diversity, conflict, tragedy and triumph that occur in one day. Extras: behind-the-scenes footage; extended scenes.
Also: "A Monster in Paris" (animation), "A Whisper to a Roar" (documentary on democracy activists), "The Colombian Connection,' "At the Gate of the Ghost" (2011, Thailand)," "Save the Date," "The Great Divide," "Crazy Enough," "The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia," "Future Weather," "Makers: Women Who Make America," "Eclipse Series 38: Masaki Kobayashi Against the System" (four films, 1953-1962, from one of the most important filmmakers to emerge from Japan's cinematic golden age, The Criterion Collection), "Not Suitable for Children" (Australia), "4Some" (Czech Republic), "DisneyNature: Wings of Life," "Dragon" (2011, Hong Kong), "Iron Man: Rise of Technovore" (animated, Marvel), "Pedal-Driven," "Repo Man (1984, The Criterion Collection), "Women in Love (BBC), "Delhi Safari" (animated, India), "Parade's End" (BBC) and "WWII Diaries: Volume 1 Sept. 1939-June 1942."
Television series: "China Beach: The Complete Series" (21-disc set; collector's edition also available), "The French Chef: Julia Child's Dinner Party Favorite" (PBS), "Counting Cars: Season 1," "Flash Gordon: The Complete Series" (Syfy), and "Secrets of War: Espionage" and "Secrets of War: Shadows of the Reich."